05.30.09

Singles Going Steady, Broadway Going To Broadway

Posted in Baseball at 12:14 am by

(Not pictured: Mark Teahen, riding shotgun)

White Sox 11 KC 2

The stepped-up offerings of ascendant bullpen refugee LHP Clayton Richard (W, 2-0 7IP 6H 2ER 7K 1BB) kept the Royals runless until the 7th, making good use of Mark Buehrle-like pacing and agressive 3-2 curveballs.   While exactly the kind of stuff needed to plug the Contreras-sized hole in the rotation, much of it was wasted by the 6th, as the Sox had piled up an 11-0 lead.

Uncharacteristically, the run of runs had less to do with power than manufacture.   Beyond a Jermaine Dye solo shot in the first, no homers figured in the deluge and the dismal RISP effectivenes of the Sox got a serious boost with a string of base hits, adding up to 17 before the night was up.  RHP Brian Bannister (L, 4-2, 5IP, 9H, 7R 4K 1BB) lasted long enough to fall behind by 6, only to bring out the hapless Sidney Ponson, whose 1/3 inning produced 4 earned runs by way of singles and doubles to Konerko, Anderson, Ramirez and Fields.  Kyle Farnsworth gave up two more before Dewayne Wise was lulled to sleep by the lack of home runs, forgot the outs and was run down.

Following the blowout, Kenny Williams announced a strange deal with the Mets, trading mild-throwing, walk-prone RHP reliever Lance Broadway (16IP, 19H 10R, 1.75 WHIP) for backup C Ramon Castro and $2 Mil in cash, leaving backup catcher Corky Miller designated for assignment.  Life goes on, Corky, life goes on.  I’ll leave it to GC to plot what role Broadway will fill at Death Valley East, but I’ll guess that Castro will do three things for the Sox: 1) ruin the week of behemoth bridesmaid Birmingam C Tyler Flowers  2) gun down about as many runners as AJ and Miller and 3) momentarily confuse and frighten Alexei Ramirez with his last name.

05.29.09

Klapisch On Death Valley East, Aka Citi Field

Posted in Baseball, Ugly New Stadiums at 5:26 pm by

While Tim Marchman has Baseball Think Factory abuzz with a not-entirely-serious headline of “They Should Trade Him For Mark De Rosa” (“Him” being newly promoted deer-in-the-headlights rookie OF Fernando Martinez), another writer considers the Mets’ poor power numbers and impact of Fred & Jeff’s homage to Ebbets Field Petco Park. “The stunning new ballpark is a shrine for pitchers,” observes the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch, “but a black hole for gap hitters who used to reach the fences at Shea Stadium.” Or to regurgitate a line I’ve repeated far too often, Citi was built with a particular team in mind. Sadly, that team was the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals.

OK, I said the ’85 Cards the first few times. But as Klapisch points out, the last club to win a World Series with fewer than 100 HR’s was St. Louis’ 82 squad.

No wonder David Wright and Carlos Beltran are glum, already resigned to Citi™s configuration that includes a 415-foot canyon in right-center (44 feet farther than at Shea) a 15-foot wall in left-center and an even more forbidding 16-foot barrier in dead center, 408 feet away from home plate.

The result is home runs that barely make it ” Gary Sheffield™s monstrous blast against the Nationals on Monday only landed in the first row ” and others that require video confirmation, like Sheffield™s on Tuesday and Daniel Murphy™s on Wednesday night.

Otherwise, an army of fly balls simply die short of the wall, which Wright called œfrustrating.

œThat™s something we™re going to have to live with and deal with, he added. œYou can get upset and you can get angry for a second, but hopefully it equals out where you get some bleeders to fall in because the outfield is so deep.

Beltran echoed the less-than-enthusiastic scouting report.

œThe fences are high, the ballpark is big, but we have to play here, he said. œThis is our home. We have to feel comfortable here.

Mets officials are aware of the grumbling, but say it™s too early to return a final verdict. œLet™s see how [Citi] plays over the summer when it gets hot, said one senior official. œRight now the sample size is too small.

The wall in left and center is actually two eight-foot pads, one of which can be replaced by a four or two-foot pad, creating a home run mark of just 12 or 10 feet. And if Jeff Wilpon and GM Omar Minaya decide the Mets™ offense is truly starving, the second pad can be removed altogether, shortening the wall to just eight feet.

With Brian Schnieder scheduled to come off the disabled list tomorrow, the Daily News’ Adam Rubin reports the Mets are frantically trying to trade Ramon Castro prior to Saturday’s 1:10pm game.

Leyland : Anatomy Of A (Mild) Tantrum

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 1:08 pm by

“It’s happened before. Inevitably, it’ll happen again.” Thus sighed the Detroit News’ Tom Gage after Tigers manager Jim Leyland cut a postgame press conference short following his club’s miserable showing in Baltimore last night.  “Like an argument with an umpire, the many ways in which his fires burn within also make Leyland realize how much passion he still has for the game.”  So in other words, the manager should’ve remembered to lose his temper with reporters more often when he cashing checks in Denver?

Questions were being asked and answered. You could see and hear Leyland wasn’t happy, but he had a right not to be happy. The Tigers had just lost a stinker. They’d gone 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

That’s when the one-too-many was asked.

“How encouraged were you by Galarraga’s performance?”

“I’m not going to talk about that, because you guys are worried about Bonderman taking somebody’s place,” Leyland said.

“I’m not going to talk about that (stuff). Galarraga pitched a great game. But that’s all you guys are looking for. Forget it. Good bye. Good night.”

And with that, the post-gamer ended.

Leyland doesn’t get upset with his team often. For that matter, he doesn’t get upset with the media often.

But he hates it when he thinks reporters are fishing, although whether there were lines in the water this time almost wasn’t the entire point.

Because of the game, the lack of execution, the stranded runners, a late home run by the Orioles breaking open a game that had been for grabs, it all boiled over after one question Leyland considered suspicious.

David Roth already covered the matter of Tom Ilitch’s generosity earlier this week, though left unmention was one tiny factoid. ; allowing the local newspapers employ your team’s director of P.R. means there’s more money to spend on talented baseball players.

Megadeth’s Mustaine : Not A Subscriber To The Theory “All Press Is Good Press”

Posted in Free Expression, Rock Und Roll at 11:52 am by

There’s a particularly wonderful passage in John Joseph’s harrowing & funny  “The Evolution Of A Cro-magnon” in which the protagonist puts the fear of G-d into a disrespectul Dave Mustaine.  Perhaps the latter’s current publicist might want to enlist Joseph’s assistance during Megadeth upcoming promo tour?    The following bit of press release magic is culled from The Gauntlet.com :

Droogies!

Wow, the last week has just slipped right past me and here we are getting ready to start mixing, mastering (no worries here), and sequencing the record. We have all of the 12 songs done and ready to be revealed soon.

I am also going to start doing interviews for the new record and of course the upcoming Megadeth and SLAYER dates in Canada. Let me assure you though, the interviews may be really short, because if I get asked anything antagonistic or I am told, ‘Someone said this and someone said that,’ it will be over. I don’t care.

I am honestly looking forward to these dates, and hopefully more than just breaking the ice and doing four concerts with some old friends. I currently have the flu so this is going to be short.

I love you all and thanks for checking in on me here, and at TheLIVELine.”

MSGD!

Can You Tell If Daniel Murphy Hit The Subway Sign?

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 10:35 am by

No? Neither could anyone else Wednesday night at Citi Field. While Manny Acta wasn’t alone in feeling his Nationals were screwed, the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman figures it’s only a matter of time before the shoe is on the other foot.

Club Conspiracy will be out in full force when the Mets, five-for-five in video decisions, eventually get jobbed. And can you imagine if the flimsy “evidence,” at least what viewers saw on SNY, is ever used to take down a tilt-winning Mets home run in the last game of the season with a playoff berth on the line? Verbal blood will run deep through the streets of sports squawk’s Valley of the Stupid.

Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB’s exec VP of baseball operations, claims there is already “plenty of transparency” in the deliberation process. “Everybody sees various (replay) angles,” Solomon told the Daily News. “On a rare occasion there will be an angle that maybe no one will see, or only one person or one (broadcast) entity will have.”

One thing all viewers can count on seeing is three umpires leaving the field, retiring to some area underneath a stadium. This leaves a lousy perception, the feeling someone is cutting a back room deal.

Solomon said umpires work in privacy so they can make a “calm, clear-headed decision” without being “impacted by screaming fans.” If this is just about making a decision under optimum conditions, MLB brass should think about sticking a camera – no sound included – inside the umps’ viewing room so fans can see what’s going on. MLB, like the NFL and NHL, should also provide the media with the name of replay officials on duty at MLB Advanced Media for each game.

Now, in MLB’s video court, no one can see the umpires arriving at a decision. No one knows exactly what replays they are looking at, how they are selected, or which one they based their decision on. You don’t even really know if there is an actual vote, or just one dominant opinion, coming out of the replay bunker. Was the final say born of consensus, conspiracy or sheer buffoonery?

05.28.09

Never Mind The Affront To Abel Ferrera, Zoe Lund & Harvey Keitel…

Posted in Cinema at 11:43 pm by

….the important thing is that finally, after all the years, we might have a Bad Lieutenant Chris Russo can get behind.

The Fiver On Barca’s Post-Victory Hypefest

Posted in Football, Sports Journalism at 7:47 pm by

OK, not everyone was thoroughly impressed with Barcelona’s 2-0 defeat of Manchester United in the Champions League final yesterday.  In other parts of the globe, however, “there couldn’t have been more drool emanating from the Stadio Olimpico if a giant roast pig, oozing gelatinous goodness, was spit-roasted under their noses,” observed the Guardian’s Sean Ingle and Rob Bagchi.

“Barcelona have shown that perfection is possible,” insisted AS editor Alfredo Relaño. “There is no antidote to their exquisite football. [They have] demonstrated their worldly and intergalactic superiority!” Meanwhile José Sámano hailed Andrés Iniesta as “sublime, elegant, sensible, and incisive, a genius with an air of Peter Pan about him – man of the match with Xavi. Their partnership was celestial, an exquisite pleasure.” Mmm, try telling Anderson that.

Lord Ferg was magnificently magnamious in defeat – although his claim that “the first goal was the killer” suggests his renowned tactical skills consisted solely of reading Guus Hiddink’s Bumper Book of Defensive Football. But as he looks to rebuild his side, Ferg may have to make do with Him, who “doesn’t know” if He will be at Old Trafford next season. El Mundo Deportivo, however, reckons He “is the perfect player for Real Madrid – arrogant the day before the game, a bad loser, provocative and posing during it. This guy smells of Madrid already.” But unless Florentino Pérez coughs up £70m, He will still be sporting L’eau D’Old Trafford next season.